Support our mission
An F-14 Tomcat taxis by “the island” of the USS Theodore Roosevelt on Sept. 10, 2005, after landing moments earlier. The Tomcat is retiring for good after having flown its final mission in Iraq on Feb. 8.

An F-14 Tomcat taxis by “the island” of the USS Theodore Roosevelt on Sept. 10, 2005, after landing moments earlier. The Tomcat is retiring for good after having flown its final mission in Iraq on Feb. 8. (Stars and Stripes)

It looks like Iceman, Goose and Maverick can stand down: The F-14 Tomcat made famous in “Top Gun” has flown its last mission.

The Navy announced Thursday that the last F-14 mission was completed Feb. 8, when two Tomcats landed aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt after one dropped a bomb in Iraq.

Capt. William Sizemore, who flew on that last mission, said the Tomcat will be missed.

“This is one of the best airplanes ever built, and it’s sad to see it go away,” Sizemore said in a Navy report from the ship. “It’s just a beautiful airplane. And it just looks like the ultimate fighter.”

The plane and its Navy pilots were the stars of the 1986 movie “Top Gun,” in which Tom Cruise played Maverick, a hot-headed pilot training at the Navy’s elite flight school in Miramar, Calif.

The F-14 entered operational service with Navy fighter squadrons VF-1 Wolfpack and VF-2 Bounty Hunters aboard USS Enterprise in September 1974, the Navy reported. The Tomcat’s purpose was to serve as a fighter-interceptor, and it eventually replaced the F-4 Phantom II Fighter, which was phased out in 1986.

The decision to incorporate the Super Hornet and decommission the F-14 is mainly due to the high amount of maintenance required to keep the Tomcats operational. On average, an F-14 requires nearly 50 maintenance hours for every flight hour, while the Super Hornet requires five to 10 maintenance hours for every flight hour.

Lt. Bill Frank also took part in the last mission, and is credited with being the last pilot to drop a bomb from an F-14 Tomcat.

“We were called on to drop, and that’s what we did,” said Frank in the Navy report.

“It’s special and it’s something I can say I did, but what’s more important is the work of the sailors who made it possible. They have worked so hard during this cruise to make every Tomcat operational.”


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up